Report on the Palestine solidarity rally in Newry
30 May 2021
Gathering outside Newry Town Hall in support of the Palestinian people.
A meeting in solidarity with the Palestinian people, organised by the IPSC, was held in Newry on Saturday. It was attended by around 130 who heard from a number of activists including a Palestinian health worker, Mohammad Samanna and Breandán Mac Cionnaith, both IPSC members. Mohammad Samanna outlined the harsh reality of life on the West Bank and throughout Palestine at the hands of the Israeli state and right-wing ethnic cleansing gangs. The latest assault on Gaza and its impact on children was particularly emphasised.
The meeting heard calls for the extension of the BDS campaign and the establishment of a local branch of the IPSC. All speakers made a commitment to keep the daily atrocities of the Israeli state and its settler gangs, in the public eye now that the latest assault has subsided. No support for the two State solution was voiced from the platform and Israel was described as a settler - colonial and apartheid state. No elected representatives addressed the meeting and Sinn Fein were particularly conspicuous by their absence.
Breandán Mac Cionnaith called from the platform for political unity behind the IPSC campaign.
This political unity needs
to extend to the ranks of the trade union movement. Only one union
banner, from Siptu, was present but no speaker or official representation
was in attendance from any union. The complete withdrawal by the union
bureaucracy from any semblance of a defence of workers’ rights extends
to their abandonment of the Palestinians. The liberation of Palestine is
a class issue. Globally, the workers that manufacture and ship arms to
Israel are largely unionised. A recent refusal to handle arms, bound for
Israel, by Italian dockers highlights this and shows the way forward. Trade
Unionists must campaign for the extension of this tactic to all tainted
goods as identified by the BDS campaign.